Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Keeping us Humble

Honeybun stood at the start line, glanced at Asherel when the buzzer to go went off, ignored Asherel's pleas to come run the course in front of all the eager onlookers, and then trotted to the exit. The buzzer discharging the champion and her befuddled owner buzzed, and that class for them, came to a whimpering end without even starting.

We don't know what got into Honeybun yesterday. She has never done anything like that before. As good as she was Saturday, she was equally bad Sunday. None of the other classes were quite as awful as that one, but none were good. I don't know if it was over-consumption of hotdogs Saturday, the approaching Tropical Storm Lee, or the recent discouraging economic forecasts. Whatever it was, our dog acted like she had never had an agility lesson in her life.

And sometimes, that is how life goes. Parents experience similar frustration every day. We tell our kids a thousand times the same character building advice, and they still seem to struggle as though it had never been addressed. Rooms go unclean, attitudes go sour, lessons go undone, computers stay on long past bedtime...etc.  The list is endless, and I don't know a single parent that doesn't scratch their head sometimes and wonder why their kid is staying stuck behind the starting line on this one, when we know we have fully trained them to run the course perfectly.

Last night I had a dream that I was at the beach, gazing out at the ocean with Asherel when a giant bulldozer appeared. It began literally ripping the sand out from under us, slowly pulling the beach right from under our feet like a giant carpet. We began to run, to try to find higher ground and a place of safety. I had warned Asherel before we went to the beach to have her phone (for the thousandth time) in case of emergency. As we ran to safety, I turned around and she was gone. I couldn't find her... and I remembered that she had told me she had forgotten her phone. I had no way to reach her, the ocean was thrashing across the now sandless beach and my daughter was gone. I awoke crying out in anguish.

We can only do so much. Sometimes the dog just doesn't feel like running the course. Sometimes all that is left is prayer and gentle appeal. Good things can come of it. Such humbling episodes tend to make us reassess, reevaluate, and sometimes chart a better course. Sometimes those wake-up calls are just what we need from a loving God, though they never feel loving at the time. I sure don't love failure, but no good parent allows failure without helping the child determine how to avoid it in the future. God is the best parent. He never lets us hang out at the start line, and not dare to enter the race, not attempt our best shot.

When we got home, Honeybun crawled onto the couch and was asleep in seconds. Rest up, little dog, I thought, because after a day of rest, we are in for some rigorous training.

Hebrews 5: 11-12
 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!


  1. Thank you for this reminder, Vicky! We're definitely in the "milk" stage here, and often times I can feel myself getting frustrated rather than remaining gracious and gentle. Thanks for your post. I needed this!

  2. Thanks Jenn, I needed the reminder too!